Will It EVER End???

It’s those placemats woven with Japanese paper yarn. I’ve hit yet another hurdle. It took me three different dye sessions to get all the paper yarn dyed to a color I like. That means there are three different dyelots, but since each batch was UNwoven from a single placemat I naively thought I would get a new woven placemat out of each batch. I did happen to notice that the yarn was compressed a bit when I unwove it. I didn’t really unweave it; as I showed in at least two previous posts, I cut it out of the warp since the placemats had already been cut off the loom.

It was such a pale, boring blue against the white/natural warp. I was very happy with the newly dyed indigo paper yarn. When I wet the yarn before dyeing it fluffed up again. I’d say it UNcompressed itself, or so I thought.

I began weaving and was zipping along nicely. I allow 1 1/2″ at the beginning and end of a placemat for a turned hem. That is 3″ total. Sometimes I weave the hems with a different weft, but not usually. I did give that a moment’s thought, but I was pretty sure the weft from each placemat would weave a full placemat. Well, it didn’t. And the worst part is that when I ran out of weft I was exactly 3″ short. Just the amount I could have woven as hems with a different weft! Poor me!

Now I’m faced with UNweaving this placemat and starting again with a different weft for the hems. It’s laborious. I think I am about 4 hours into it, and I have only UNwoven half the placemat. I’m treadling backwards, throwing a shuttle, and winding the yarn onto the pirn after every four picks. It’s the most efficient way I could think of, but if you know a better way, please give me a shout–soon! I hope to finish today. So that’s how I’m spending my day before Independence Day. Hmm…

I realize that I am stubborn and refuse to be defeated by this project! The kitchen (paper)towels were a cinch to weave, but that was because the paper yarn was a perfect color for what I wanted. This has been quite the opposite–a nightmare for sure!

But it’s summer and June offered so many pleasures to balance my weaving debacle! My hollyhocks are huge this year! They seem to have taken some kind of steroids over the winter. I don’t know how they got so big. They are same ones I replant every year. I just take the seeds from the current flowers.

The lamppost inside the hollyhocks is six feet tall. The hollyhocks must be nine feet tall! When the flowers began to open I had just discovered ‘the dogwood dyer’ on instagram. She uses flowers to create sharp images on cloth through eco-dyeing. I am intrigued. She suggests drying the flowers first to get sharp images. I have a flower press, but when I couldn’t find it I began to think I may have loaned it to someone–decades ago? So, Bob to the rescue. I now have a new flower press with several hollyhock leaves and flowers being dried. My vision is to have a line of flowers and leaves running up one side of the front of a t-shirt. I’ve got the t-shirt, and I used Botanical Colors no-heat aluminum triformate for a mordant–for the first time. I’m ready to try this technique! I sure hope it’s more successful than my placemats!

Bringing flowers into the house is one of my joys of summer.

This week I cut all the flowers from the nepeta (catmint) and the lavender, hoping to get another flush of flowers in August. The bees were working just ahead of me as I cut the nepeta, and the scent was luscious. Lucky bees!

I saved the lavender and have made little bouquets for the guest bathroom and powder room, and I made a little wand to decorate a birthday present for a friend. It smells great right now, so I hope I see my friend soon.

Ten days ago I gathered my dearest weaving friends together to celebrate our long weaving history, both each person’s weaving history and our history together. Friends came from New Jersey, New York State, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. It was a beautiful day. I loved every minute of it. Personally, I was celebrating my almost-golden-jubilee of weaving. I started weaving in fall of 1975. Struggling with these torturous placemats seems ridiculous after that much weaving history. After half a century things still don’t always go as planned!

Here is most of the group.

I gave books to the two newest weavers in my circle of friends. This is Melody!

My editor at Schiffer Publishing is the other newest weaver. She arranged for Schiffer to send six books for me to give away. Below my friend Judy just got a book on making paper baskets.

Melody took this wonderful photo of my book, which also was given away, with the various bouquets that were about to get placed around the seating areas before guests arrived.

We also had a show and tell. This is Janet who makes bobbin lace and often creates her own patterns.

And Gretchen who wove this overshot shawl

Bob took a photo of most of us gathered on the steps that lead down to the terrace off my studio. What a wonderful bunch of women who have nurtured me over so many years!

I had party favors! Key fobs made from ribbon and webbing from Renaissance Ribbons, cute stork scissors donated by Schiffer, and some bookmarks. Of course I looked for ribbon with weaving images, but this was the closest I could get. Everyone went home with some goodies.

So it’s time to get back to UNweaving. With a lot of luck I might finish today. Then I’ll move forward hopefully for the last time on this project!

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